Programming note: Sharks-Kings Game 5 coverage kicks off tonight with Sharks Pregame Live at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California; No TV? Watch the game STREAMING LIVE on CSNCalifornia.com at 7:30 p.m.
LOS ANGELES – Dustin Brown decided to take the high road when asked about Logan Couture’s suggestion that the Kings’ captain dove when they collided in the second period of Game 4.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of embellishing going on either side, really,” Brown said. “It’s playoffs. Considering all the talk of embellishment in the last series, you would think that would be enough of talking about that. I think the games have been pretty good, and for us, it’s about focusing on being better. We’re not worried about what they’re talking about over there.”
Brown didn’t deny that the Kings and Sharks dislike one another.
“Throughout the series it kind of builds up, the hate, and you get on each other. It’s part of the game,” he said.
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Kings defenseman Drew Doughty praised the play of Sharks forward Brent Burns on Thursday morning.
“He’s still a good defensive forward, but that’s not even why we’re worried about him. On the forecheck he’s relentless, he works so hard and he finishes all his checks,” Doughty said. “He’s got a good stick, a long one, which makes it tough to get passes by him. … That’s what we need out of our guys, to do to their d-men, too.”
Todd McLellan referred to Burns as a “wrecking ball” in his pregame media availability. In the past, the Sharks’ coach has made suggestions that Burns doesn’t always follow the team’s system, but that’s fine as long as he’s an effective player.
Doughty suggested as much.
“I don’t really know if he’s following the system, it just kind of seems like he’s everywhere, just trying to run around and hit guys. It’s definitely something we need to be aware of, and he’s one of their top players. We need to take him out of the game in as many ways as we can.”
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Antti Niemi has a 2.01 goals-against average and .921 save percentage through the first four games, but Doughty thinks they can make it tougher on the Sharks’ goalie.
“To be honest, I don’t think he’s had a big impact on [the series] at all,” Doughty said. “We haven’t got to him. It’s that simple. We haven’t created enough screens on him, haven’t gotten enough shots on him. Our scoring chances haven’t been that great, and that’s our own fault.
"He’s a great goalie and we know that we need to get pucks by him, but it starts with hard work and crashing the net hard.”
Niemi seemed to agree with Doughty.
“There’s been some screens, but I think they can probably do it better,” Niemi said.